Trevor Francis's son 'linked to raid'

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Ex-football star Trevor Francis's son was linked to a burglary through a driving offence in 2010, a court heard.

James Francis, 26, denies burgling a cottage at the £1.6m mansion home of ex-Aston Villa footballer Lee Hendrie in Rowington, Warwickshire, in 2011.

He had worked at Mr Hendrie's home, Warwick Crown Court heard.

Mr Francis, of Solihull, was convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis and fingerprints taken then linked him to the burglary.

Jurors heard Mr Francis was found guilty on 5 August of that year of failing to provide a specimen in connection with a motoring matter.

Thumbprint 'lifted'

The officer in charge of the investigation into the alleged burglary at Mr Hendrie's home, Police Staff Investigator Len Dickinson, said Mr Francis was interviewed in both August and October 2011 after being linked to the inquiry through fingerprint records.

Start Quote

Why on earth would I want a Lee Hendrie shirt?”

End Quote James Francis Defendent

Mr Francis denies burgling the unoccupied cottage, between 18 July and 3 August 2011.

The prosecution has told the court he stole a range of designer goods and six football souvenirs, including England shirts from Wayne Rooney and David Beckham, after breaking a door panel to enter the property.

Mr Dickinson confirmed a search of Mr Francis's home had found nothing resembling the items alleged to have been taken during the break-in.

Warwickshire Police fingerprint expert Paul Edwards gave evidence about a thumbprint "lifted" from a door panel recovered from the cottage.

Signed Pele shirt

Mr Edwards said: "I compared that mark with the impressions on the fingerprint form in the name of James Francis and found them to be made by the same person."

A second print found on a piece of card at the cottage matched a record of Mr Francis's right thumb, the witness said.

The jury were read transcripts of both police interviews with Mr Francis, during which he said he was employed as a manager for a cleaning company and had worked at Mr Hendrie's home in May 2011.

Mr Francis told police he had entered the cottage during a clean-up of the main house and had noticed framed football shirts inside the outbuilding.

In the second interview, Mr Francis told officers: "The amount of memorabilia I have got off my dad - I've got a signed Pele shirt, a Maradona shirt - why on earth would I want a Lee Hendrie shirt?"

The trial continues.

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